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Mosquitoes just love wet weather. Unfortunately, that includes pests carrying the West Nile virus—leading to a surge in reported cases in 40 states. Whether it’s by helping to prevent its spread or being there to treat patients who may be affected, it’s a good time to prepare yourself. American Family Care opted for the former course of action by offering free prevention kits, aimed at helping residents in their surrounding communities avoid mosquito bites in general. The kit includes mosquito repellant; recommendations for treating clothing to make it more anti-mosquito; a yellow “bug light” (something of a misnomer, as it doesn’t really keep mosquitoes away as it does simply not attract them as much as incandescent lights); and disinfectant wipes to clean away sweat while people are out enjoying the summer (mosquitoes are attracted by the lactic acid the body produces when it heats up and sweats). Providers will need keen history-taking skills to determine which patients who have already been bitten might have West Nile virus. As much as 80% of people with West Nile don’t know they have it, but the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention advises that 20% of them will develop fever, headache, joint pain, skin rash, fatigue, and weakness. Further, the CDC reports that 1 out of 150 people who are infected can develop potentially fatal illness (eg, meningitis or encephalitis).

Wet Late Summer Weather Prompts West Nile Surge—and You Can Help